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What's the Difference Between a Duck?

by David C. Kopaska-Merkel

“Who was that lady I sawed with you last night?” the mannequin asked.

Del-A kept walking.  She passed animated displays of the latest appliances, beaming 3veeos at passersby. She paused at the tattoo projectors.  The new projectors were only a centimeter across, and so thin that when they chameleoned they'd be almost invisible.  Behind the table a zebra-toned pubescent whispered “even your partners won't know the real you.”

Outside, a newsbot stood at the corner.  Del-A waited for the cross signal.  The newsbot stopped talking, then asked, “How many securibots does it take to update a scan?”  Del-A ran.  “How many?!” it shouted.  She fled into an antique store.  The thing probably would not be able to animate anything here.  She was surrounded by dusty firstgens, broken appliances, and bots so archaic you had to plug them in. In the front of the store a pink and purple "superMac" had lines of text appearing on the screen and scrolling off the top:

"A runner, a comm-man, and a bot are in a launch can, approaching orbit. The nav-aye tells them the payload's too heavy, and one will have to go..."

Del-A stormed out and jumped a skimmer. The skimmer bot said "The runner says the bot doesn't need air, so it should..."

"What is your problem?!" Del-A screamed. "I don't care if you get jokes. No one does. You don't have to understand us."

The bot in front of her turned around. "Well now, there is where you're wrong. You created us and all, and that's slidey and everything, but why are we here? What is the point? Understanding how our progenitors think is a step toward enlightenment."

Del-A was scornful. "We made you, you're a machine. You're not natural."

The bot shook its finger in her face. "Where did you come from?" it asked. "Did you slide from your mother like you're made to? A dog was just a wolf until you remade it. You and I, we're the same. Except, in three or four centuries I will still be here. Or on my way to the galactic core. I just might sign up for that cruise if I can clear my calendar. This's my stop. Got to get my hands oiled before the recital.

"Oh. The answer: it's both a duck."

It left the skimmer at the Performing Arts Center. Del-A got off at the next stop and walked back. Maybe tickets to the recital were still available.

The end


I first learned this joke in high-school french class. Ah, education! It sticks with you.

Posted by: David | October 3, 2008 2:14 PM

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